Developing a custom pizza crust with Caputo “00” flour

As a dough manufacturer, one of the most frequently asked questions that we receive are related to flour types. We always tell our clients that when developing a custom crust recipe, flour is just as important as oven type and proofing techniques in achieving a unique texture and flavor. In this article, we will focus on Caputo “00” flour, the most traditional Italian four.

What is Caputo “00” flour?

Let’s start out by distinguishing between other flour types and Caputo “00”. Traditionally, flours are categorized by how finely they are milled. They range from “2”, “1”, “0” and “00”. In this case, Caputo “00” is exceptionally finely milled flour. To contrast, think of semolina or bread flour on the opposite end of the above-mentioned scale. The fineness of the mill is not the only difference between Caputo “00” and other flour types. Caputo “00” has a gluten content of only 12.5%, which gives the dough the right amount of elasticity. As we will see in the next section, this gluten content is what gives the pizza crust a distinct texture and flavor.

What type of custom crusts can I make with Caputo “00” flour?

Dough made with Caputo “00” flour is best when it’s baked in a wood burning oven, although a gas or electric oven will also work just as well. Using Caputo “00” flour in your custom crust is ideal when you are pursuing the highest quality product and when you wish to sell an authentic Italian signature pizza. Given the fine characteristics, Caputo flour is generally triple the price of Canadian flours.

The most important thing to note is that Caputo “00” flour is typically used to create the highest quality Neapolitan style pizza, although it can be used in any custom crust recipe ranging from thick to thin crusts.  Typically, Caputo flour is used for thinner crusts with thicker edges. Due to the fineness of the mill and the protein content, Caputo flour creates a soft, elastic crust with perfectly charred bubbles on the rim. When handling the dough ball, you will notice that it’s stickier than regular dough and it needs extra gentle handling as it is very soft. Skilled labour is required to handle this type of dough ball.

At Mimi Foods, our Caputo dough balls range from 8 to 25 oz, with stretch sizes as large as 10 to 16 inches. For custom crust development using Caputo “00” flour, contact us at artisticdough@mimifoods.ca or 905-660-0010.

Dough Ball or Par Baked Crust: Which one is suited for your type of operation?

Introduction

When outsourcing the dough to a manufacturer, it is important to know the two main types of pizza dough and which type of operation they are suited for. If your goal is to serve an artisan-style, handcrafted product, the dough ball is the right answer for you. If, on the other hand, your goal is to serve clients quickly and conveniently, then you should consider a par-baked crust. Both come with their unique advantages and specifications and we will be discussing most of them in this month’s article.

Dough Ball

The top of the totem pole when it comes to getting the highest quality product, the dough ball requires craftsmanship and creativity, but it yields the best results. The dough ball is best handled by skilled artisans, although anyone can be trained to handle it. When incorporating the dough ball into your operation, you will quickly see the advantages of its versatility.

Why use it?

  • It gives you endless possibilities in terms of the end product. Think beyond pizza with products like Calzone, Stromboli or flatbreads.
  • It gives full control over the “in between” process of thawing/ proofing and, therefore, the texture is 100% customizable.
    • Proof 80% for a dense texture (example: breads).
    • Proof 100% for a full texture (example: pizza crust).
    • Proof 110% for a crispy, drier textured dough (example: flatbread).
  • It’s versatile and can be baked in any and all baking equipment that you may use.
  • Reduces labour time and costs associated with creating dough from scratch.

How do I know if the dough ball is the right fit for my type of operation?

  • If pizza is your main menu item and you want to present the best possible product.
  • If pizza is not your main menu item and you want to present an excellent product.
  • If you are using a wood burning oven.
  • Your employees are skilled workers and know how to handle the dough ball.
  • You are open to a learning curve and to train your workers to handle the dough ball.
  • You have sufficient freezer space to store the product.
  • Your operation allows you to reserve a number of hours to thaw the product before use.
  • You want to eliminate the need for a mixer and associated equipment, clean up and purchasing ingredients to mix your own dough from scratch.

Par Baked Crust

When convenience is priority, the par-baked crust is the right choice. This product is partially baked to your specific needs, starting with size, texture and shape, leaving the finishing baking to you.

Although this means that you do not have the opportunity to change it on the fly, as with the dough ball, you can still create sandwiches and flatbreads with it.

Why use it?

  • It’s convenient and fast: take it from the freezer, thaw it for minutes (as opposed to hours in the case of the dough ball) and it’s ready to use.
  • It doesn’t need proofing to create a different textured product, as the crust has essentially been stopped cold of its “liveliness”. All raw dough is alive and needs to be treated like that. With par-baked crusts, we perform this stage for you and then stop the process.
  • The end product is extremely consistent because it is tailor-made for your needs.
  • Because it is par-baked, it has a shorter bake time, regardless of the type of oven that you use.
  • It does not need a skilled worker to roll it, and, therefore, minimizes the risk of any kind of mistakes.
  • Although this product is more expensive than the dough ball because of the processing and baking which goes into it, it will save you a significant amount of time.

How do I know if the par-baked crust is the right fit for my type of operation?

  • You are a quick serve type of operation and your goal is to save as much time as possible.
  • You do not have the resources to provide extensive training to your workers to handle a dough ball.
  • You are a take-out place: par baked crusts perform better when reheated (the crust does not get soggy when reheated in the microwave oven).
  • You are looking to cut down on costs related to rolling equipment and pizza peels.
  • You are using a conveyor belt.

Conclusion

Both the dough ball and the par-baked crust deliver an excellent end product that is sure to make your customers come back for more. However, deciding which one is best for your type of operation depends on factors such as time, convenience, available resources and desired end product. At MiMi Foods, we are happy to discuss your goals and create a unique product tailored to your needs. Contact us at 905-660-0010 or email us at artisticdough@mimifoods.ca.